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The 20 Item Checklist of Necessities for your RV

Congratulations on your decision to hit the open road living the fabulous full-time RV life. I am happy to have you join us! Whether it be in a travel trailer, 5th wheel, or even a pop-up camper. One of your biggest decisions will be what to bring with you and what necessities are required from the start. Most full-timers start with a list or checklist of the essentials. We have spoken with a multitude of these RVers and asked them how they began.

The following what you’ll need before your first big adventure.

  1. Water Pressure Regulator
  2. In-line Water Filter
  3. Fresh Water Hose
  4. Water Hose Elbow
  5. Holding Tank Treatment
  6. Sewer Hose
  7. Power Adapter
  8. Fuse Kit
  9. Coaxial Cable
  10. Tire Chocks
  11. Leveling Blocks
  12. Jack Pads
  13. Tool Box
  14. Trash Bin
  15. RV Toilet Paper
  16. Outdoor Table
  17. Camp Chairs
  18. Fire Pit
  19. Griddle
  20. Velcro

Just to be clear about what each item is I have put together this detailed picture/text portion to give a better understanding of why each piece is a necessity.

Wish I would have had this in the beginning!


When buying toilet paper for an RV it is important to purchase 100% biodegradable RV/Marine grade tissue.

RV’s are not designed to use residential paper.
full time rv life, living, lifestyle, toilet paper

The paper needs to dissolve and quickly.

Single ply is sufficient and it is available in soft and gentle.
For more strength two-ply is on the shelf as well.
full time rv life, lifestyle, living, toilet paper

The plumbing as a whole in an RV needs protection from high water pressure.

Utilizing this simple device does just that. Not only does the water pressure regulator maintain a consistent 50-55 pounds per square inch of water pressure it also creates a more even flow for better showers. Brass models are better for you and your RV as a result of being lead-free. Most campgrounds do not regulate water pressure and it has been noted some have pressure as high as 80-100 PSI.
The result could be damaged, cracked or even busted plumbing. The pressure this high can also be harmful to your hose. For the best results connect the regulator first, to the water faucet. This particular model costs around $15 and already has a stainless steel internal spring and screened washer for protection from debris.
full time rv life, water pressure

Water is the lifeblood of all humanity.

Any water entering the freshwater tank should be filtered. This filtering is essential for full-time RVers.  Whatever goes into the tank, unfiltered, remains in the tank. The elements with weight sink to the bottom and can cause problems for years.
full time rv life, water filter

This two-pack as pictured above will last all year under normal use.

With a wide body and large capacity, it can handle a large volume for water at 50-55 PSI. The filtering process also improves the taste. This unit is weather resistant with a welded UV resistant case and is capable of being installed outdoors. I place mine inline directly after the water pressure regulator. Storing this unit while traveling or over a short term is okay because the internal carbon prevents bacteria.
Filtering water in this manner offers protection from:
  • Aluminum
  • Bacteria
  • Bad Taste
  • Cadmium
  • Chlorine
  • Fungus
  • Heavy Metals
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Mold
  • Odor
  • Turbidity
  • Sediment

When storing my fresh water hose I leave the water filter and water pressure regulator attached.

full time rv life, water hose elbow

Most connections for water on an RV are made of PVC or plastic.

Connecting a hose directly to the inlet creates downforce on the unit. Over time it will crack or break. The hose elbow relieves pressure, helps to reduce kinking, and puts less strain on the unit as a whole. The elbow can also be considered an extension that gives your hands more room to work as well.
full time rv life, black water hose

Multi-Length Premium Sewer Hose that comes in a Kit.

When buying a premium sewer hose ensure that you are looking into one that is made of tough TPE hose making it uncrushable and leak free.
Some arrive packaged with a see-through adapter making it visible when the flow stops and is running clear.
When using the same hose over an extended period of time I strongly suggest hose stand to keep the hose off of the ground.
Two ten foot hoses should be enough for most campgrounds.
Always wear gloves when dealing with black water and emptying holding tanks. Disposable heavy duty gloves can be found in most department stores.

The 50 AMP Electric Power Adapter with the Power Grip

When connecting to an electrical power pole at the campground most electrical boxes will accept a 30 amp or 50 amp shoreline electrical cord. In the event that you may be boondocking or “mouchdocking” elsewhere this power adapter is a lifesaver. It adapts to the 110 volt AC power outlet in a business or home and converts or “adapts” the connection to accept your shoreline cord.
full time rv life, water treatment, deodorizer
full time rv life, living, lifestyle, toilet

Holding tank deodorizers are indeed necessary.

It is also the easiest thing you will ever do. Just drop the pre-packaged portion in the toilet to break down solids, toilet paper and deodorize.

There is also an element in the mixture that helps clean the holding tank and sensors. For our “earth friendly” friends there is also an organic variety as well.

full time rv life, water hose

Having a good coax cable contributes to saving yourself some trouble down the road.

It’s more of a convenience than a necessity to most. However, if your cable input is on the opposite side of your electric pole and your shoreline power cord is 30 foot long your best served to have a 100-foot cable cord to make sure you can reach the trip around the coach.  Pictured is a quad-shield cable offering added protection from interference of the audio and video signal.
full time rv life, wheel chocks, pads
Travel trailers and fifth wheels do not have parking brakes.

Wheel chocks go in front and back of the tire to keep it from moving when parked.

full time rv life, blocks, pads
When dealing with unlevel campgrounds or inclines getting your coach level can be a challenge.
Stabilizers can only do so much.
For trailers that don’t have electronic leveling systems, leveling blocks are essential.
Made of polypropylene these blocks are strong, durable and fit together like Legos.
The best way to use these is to stack the blocks in front of the tires and slowly pull the rig over them.
There may be a little bit of trial and error here but over time you’ll get faster.
full time rv life, jack pads

Jack pads are essential in supporting your RV and keeping the rig stable.

These are especially useful when camping on grass or sandy soil.
You simply don’t want the front end to sink, it needs to be stable.
Spreading the weight of the front jack also helps protect the pavement as well.
full time rv life, toolbox
Though the list of tools is short having that specific tool available when you need it saves a trip into town.

Some of the tools most useful for the full-time RV life are:

  • a small assortment of Phillips and standard head screwdrivers
  • needle nose and Channel-lock pliers
  • wire cutters or snips
  • battery powered drill, charger and drill bits
  • fuse puller
  • voltage meter and a 12 volt DC test light
  • extension cord
  • swiss army knife or multitool
  • ball bungee cords
  • headbanded flashlight
  • hammer
  • socket set
  • tire gauge
This is a short list but remember, we are just getting started.
One thing you will find living a full-time RV life is that the people around you are very friendly and helpful.
Full time rv live, tools

Hoses come in two categories, those that taste like plastic and those that don’t.

Most RV’s have an input for City Water and/or Fresh Water.
full time rv life, water hose

The fresh water hose is essential for your fresh drinking water.

Look for the variety that is made for pure drinking water to fill your fresh water tanks.

Some other characteristics could be:

  • made specifically for drinking water
  • Lead BPA free
  • kink resistant
  • reinforced
  • Thicker than standard hoses
  • 5/8″ or 1/2″ specific width, know what you require
  • lengths of 25ft, 50ft, 100ft, we use 50ft
  • check the quality reviews for durability
Though they are easy to use and store I would avoid the “as seen on TV” expandable hoses. Though they are easy to store none really meet any of the requirements above.
Using these hoses daily really shortens the life of the hose as well.
We also purchased the hose pan to store our hose, this is something you simply don’t want to store outside or bouncing around in a compartment. Remember, cheap hoses have a greater tendency to kink and leak. A good freshwater hose is a good investment.

We all have to sit every once in a while.

Why not choose one of these comfortable folding rocking chairs? Being made of loose canvass one of these can really contour nicely to your body. The best quality being easy to store because they fold up nicely. So go ahead and gather your thoughts while rocking away in one of these!
Full time RV life, chair
full time rv life, fire pit
full time rv life, rocking chair
Now that’s what it’s all about, relaxing under the awning in a comfortable chair by the fire pit talking about the daily adventures for tomorrow.
The fire pit is a personal pick.
My favorite part of living the full-time RV life is the time I spend in my folding chair by the fire staring at the stars.
I do my best thinking this way.
Most of all its free!
Remember though, fire pits are big and bulky.
Storing one of these is messy and it must be cleaned before storing.
I have a large canvass bag to shove mine in and plenty of “under the coach” storage to hold it.
full time rv life, folding chairs

Can you imagine this set-up in the great outdoors?

full time rv life, living, lifestyle, velcro

Velcro tape or strips is a lifesaver on the list of essentials.

One lesson you will learn when traveling is that every loose item needs to be secure.
Velcro could be the answer.
The technology behind this two-piece fastener works well when the two sides come together, one side has tiny plastic hooks that grab ahold of the other side which is made of fabric. When compressed together there is surprisingly strong holding power. Both pieces have a sticky backside that can attach to horizontal or even on vertical surfaces as well.
Pictured is an indoor dry version and the outdoor type that can work efficiently in wet or dirty areas. The applications are limitless and serve a major role in securing items while traveling.  Think about all of the items sitting on the countertops like the decanters for sugar and flour. Both can be secured to the counter with Velcro.
For easy access, I  have a piece of the fabric side on my flashlight and fly swatter with the hook side attached to the wall by the door.
How many times are you in a hurry when you need one of those?
Collapsable containers are available in many different sizes serving several different purposes. Most even come equipped with a lid.
When lined with a trash bag can be used as an indoor or even outdoor trash can. Indoors they make a great place for dirty laundry.
full time rv life, trash can
full time rv life, living, lifestyle, storage
full time rv life, collapsible container

I personally have four.

  1. Indoor trash
  2. Outdoor trash
  3. Dirty clothes hamper
  4. Recyclables
A good collapsible container will last a long time when stored properly. That is also the best quality about these is the fact they take up very little space! Always be conscious of space when purchasing items for your coach.
The transformation from brick and mortar homes to a home on wheels is a big one.
full time rv life, griddle

A griddle is one of those pieces that once you have it you wonder how you ever survived without it.

Ours is the propane bottle version and my favorite meal to cook outside on the griddle is breakfast. This saves me from using different pans for eggs, sausage, and bacon. Clean up is quicker too. 
full time rv life, fuses

Spare fuses are a necessity and can be stored in the toolbox with the fuse puller.

To avoid any hazards make sure to use the same size fuse when replacing them.
full time rv life, folding tables

Folding tables are an essential extra horizontal surface.

Full-time RVers are always looking for more horizontal surfaces.
Look for a design that can be stored easily and adjustable like this one with telescopic feet.

The space-saving folding table is universally rated for indoor or outdoor use.

During fair weather can be taken outdoors to serve as a buffet and can even hold small appliances plugged into an exterior wall plug.
Socially people can gather for a game of monopoly or cards. I personally have two!
I honestly enjoyed writing because I can now look back and laugh at all of those frustrations I felt not knowing I needed all of this. Though there are several items that could have made the list I wanted to get the list down to a chosen few. This part was a challenge.
So there you have the Top 20 Essential Items to Begin a Full-Time RV Life! 
Thanks so much! 
Hope you enjoy your Full-time RV life as much as well have.
full time rv life, solar